How to Clean a Wood Table That Is Sticky

Do you feel like your wooden table is sticky and needs attention? Wood becomes sticky from the use of poor finishes, varnish, or polishes. Coffee, tea, or food that has splashed on the surface can also make it sticky if left for some time.

Poor cleaning procedures also lead to a sticky surface on the wooden table. However, this should not be so stressful to handle and clean off.

I have a step by step guide for you below on the way to get that smooth feeling on the wood table back. Below are the requirements and steps to follow;

What You Need To Clean a Sticky Table


Before you start the cleaning process, there are a few items that you will need to get the job done. Below are some of them.

  • Soft cloth
  • Vinegar
  • Murphy oil soap
  • Water
  • A Sprayer
  • Dishwashing detergent

Once you get all the above items, you can now start the cleaning process. Follow the steps below;

How to Clean a Sticky Table

Step 1. Add ½ cup of vinegar to the spray bottle. Once you are done, pour ½ cup of warm water and a few drops of the washing detergent and gently swirl to mix.

Step 2. Now spray the solution on to the wooden table surface evenly and make sure you get it on the whole table.

Step 3. Using the clean, soft cloth, lightly rub the cloth towards the grain. Remember to keep rotating the cloth. This will make sure you are using the clean spot to clean, and it will eliminate the chances of putting back the sticky content on the already clean areas.

Step 4. After that, you can now get a clean cloth and repeat the process a few more times as you spray a little more solution on the table. This will ensure that you get off all the remaining residue from the table.


How to Clean a Wood Table That Is Sticky
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Step 5. Use another damp cloth now with plain water to rinse off the residue from the table surface. Once you are sure that you have rinsed off all the residue, use a dry cloth to dry off the table.

Gently buff the surface with a clean, soft cloth to restore the shine. You can now slide your hand on the table surface to feel if it’s still sticky. If the above process doesn’t work out for you, be sure to use more advanced methods that I will illustrate below.

Remember, as time goes by, the original polish and finishes that were once used to conserve and make the wood surface look elegant become worn out. This results in discoloration of the table and peeling off, resulting in a sticky feeling. Just like my first method illustrated above, below, I will guide you through another easy but advanced method to clean your sticky table.

  • Here you need to do some thorough cleaning on the wood to remove the broken varnish.  Make sure that you do not use so much force and ensure to clean towards the grain.
  • After, dilute a little amount of murphy oil soap in water. This is a wood cleaning detergent that is perfect for such applications. Now, apply the mixture directly to the table. Use a cloth to clean the sticky residue. Repeat the process severally and then use clean cloth diapers and water to rinse the surface.
  • Allow the surface to dry. Once you are comfortable with the feel on the wood, smear wood wax. This will help repel off water and stains from your wooden table, thus offering extra protection.



There are several varnish wood cleaners available in the hardware stores and in furniture maintenance shops near you. All you have to do is to select one that will work best for you. Follow guidelines from the manufacturer on how to use the product.


If all the above don’t work well for you or they fail to impress you, just refinish the table and seek advice from an expert on the best cleaning product to buy.

As much as you will need to avoid wood cleaning products because of wax build-up,  they also help to shelter the wood and varnish. You can apply weekly on the tabletops to offer increased protection. All in all, the step by step guide is easy for anyone, and I guarantee it will help you clean that sticky table. I hope you got to learn a thing or two on how to clean a wood table that is sticky.

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